Cemaphore syncs Outlook with Gmail

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This morning we did a live press conference with Cemaphore‘s CEO. Here’s the video where you get a demo of what they announced this morning.

This lets companies choose to use the lower-cost Gmail infrastructure while letting users choose whether to use the Web or Outlook.

Does Palm Pre have a chance against iPhone? IMO: No, but it probably doesn’t matter

At CES the product I was most excited by was the Palm Pre. After all, they had hired a bunch of people from Apple and it went further than the iPhone in many places. It had a keyboard. It has an OS that let you run multiple applications at the same time (something the iPhone doesn’t do) and did copy and paste. The OS seemed even better thought out than the iPhone was. Contacts collected data from Facebook and other social networks.

It looked like it would win in the marketplace.

But now it’s March and the tides are changing.

First, last week Apple came out with a set of APIs for the iPhone that many people missed because they were drinking at SXSW. More on those in a second.

But today stuff is leaking about a new iPhone that’s coming out.

Now I’m starting to doubt whether Palm can make it. I’m not the only one.

Lots of iPhones at iPhoneDevCamp

It’s shocking, actually, how well Apple has done with developers. Remember, I was at the first iPhone Dev Camp (included here is a picture of those who attended the first Dev Camp). Apple didn’t show up (a couple of employees did, but they weren’t even allowed to acknowledge that they worked at Apple). How did they turn developers onto the iPhone?

1. Apple sold more than 10 million phones.
2. The experience of using the iPhone got geeks excited. So excited that they put together their own DevCamps even though Apple was pretty clueless.
3. Apple turned on a store that let lots of developers build businesses that are rocking and rolling. Success pulls in even more developers.
4. Now Apple is throwing marketing dollars behind developers. I’ve seen tons of TV ads that Apple’s done. I’ve seen cool Apple ads on the web. The whole front of Apple stores right now features apps.
5. The new OS, coming this summer, lets developers do even more with their iPhones. Pandora’s CTO, Tom Conrad, talked with me at SXSW last week and he was drooling over some of the kinds of things he’s going to be able to build for the new OS and that was before he heard the rumors of the new iPhone.

Can Palm compete with this? If they do, I’ll be the most shocked blogger out there.

I think the bigger question is can Palm get enough hype to push it into a second place status and tear away market share from RIM, Microsoft, and Nokia. The answer to that one is yes.

Why? Because the Palm Pre is so much better than any other phone other than the iPhone. (The Palm is better than the iPhone, actually, but only if you don’t consider all the apps that are being built for the iPhone and only if you don’t consider the new 3.0 stuff that Apple announced last week).

I bet this is the strategy that Palm’s going for. They know not everyone will go for an iPhone. Some people hate Apple (yes, it’s true). Some can’t stand the touch keyboard. Still others still like Palm or just want to use Sprint instead of AT&T.

So, I don’t think there’s any way for Palm to really tear much market share away from the iPhone, but they can do a pretty nice business going after everyone else.

Either way, if I worked at Nokia, Microsoft, or RIM, I’d be working extra hard to figure out how to deal with Apple and Palm. They are going to make 2010 really rough for other cell phone manufacturers if things stay the way they are.

The fun thing about this industry is that in a few months everything can change in a couple of months. Hang onto your seats.

UPDATE: @ian_Wright asked “Do you think Android has a chance?” Yes, definitely. But they are fighting over #2 space too. It looks like Apple isn’t stumbling with developers like it did in the early 1990s with the Macintosh, so it’s going to be very difficult for Android to get mindshare over the iPhone. But Android can easily compete with Palm. Losers here? Nokia, RIM, and Motorola.

Also, @whurley points out that two members of the original iPhoneDevCrew have already put together http://predevcamp.org and it will be in more than 60 cities.

Why Rob Diana is right: Twitter gets the hype while Facebook will get the gold

Rob Diana just wrote “Sorry Twitter, Facebook is The Data Gold Mine.”

First, let’s go back to Ronn Owens. He’s a talk show host on KGO Radio. Actually, he’s the #1 rated talk show on the #1 station in San Francisco (if you exclude nationally-syndicated radio guys like Limbaugh). I was listening the day he discovered Twitter. He resisted at first (a guest told him he MUST be on Twitter, because it’s a good way to let his listeners know what’s coming up). The next day he announced that he had joined Twitter to his audience. I was follower #24 (he now has 558). I joined about 20 minutes after his announcement because I was driving. It was amazing to me that he had only gotten 24 followers in that time, which demonstrates the lack of engagement of a talk radio audience, but I’m getting off track.

What got him onto Twitter? (He’s talked about it several times since). Its publicness.

This is what is driving Twitter’s hype. See, for a celebrity like Owens, or a brand like CNN (which has several accounts on Twitter) the publicness of Twitter is like crack. Facebook might have more users, but it’s hard to be “public” on Facebook. Google’s spiders (the software that indexes web pages) can’t get into Facebook easily while those same spiders eat up Twitter.

The “publicness” of Twitter makes a TON of sense for someone like Ronn Owens who wants to reach a world-wide audience with very little work. Facebook makes less sense because it’s not only more work (there’s a lot more to do on Facebook than just write simple text messages from a cell phone) but it isn’t as public so it’s harder to get new followers.

But this is exactly why people tell me they use Facebook instead of Twitter. So, Facebook has the numbers (about 180 million for Facebook vs. about 10 million for Twitter). It is also why Rob Diana is right: people will put more intimate stuff, like having a baby, into Facebook rather than Twitter.

Only weirdos like me like sharing intimate stuff in a public forum and having conversations. Hint: for every weirdo like me, there are 1000 who are like my wife and only want to discuss that stuff with their “true friends.”

Which brings me back to Rob Diana’s point. It’s those intimate details that will bring advertising opportunities. “I’m having a baby shower in San Francisco at the Hyatt” is the type of thing normal people will share in Facebook with their friends but will never think of sharing in Twitter. Yet that’s the kind of information that a brand like the Hyatt needs to engage with you.

When I went to Las Vegas recently and said I was staying in the Luxor, someone got back to me at the Luxor on Twitter and said something like “let me know if I can help you, I can get you show tickets and make reservations for you.”

This kind of customer intimacy will be far more prevalent over on Facebook because WE are far more intimate there.

Rob is right, I wonder how Twitter is going to shift to get us to be more intimate with sharing the intimate details of our lives?

Oh, and I wonder how Facebook is going to keep us sharing the intimate details of our lives as it tries to add businesses to the social graph? The first time some business answers back a Facebooker like the Luxor did to me on Twitter they might get freaked out, so Facebook has to be careful here.

So, why would Facebook get any money from the Luxor? I can see a ton of ways. Can’t you?

Think of the Yellow Pages. Simple listings are free there (or were back when I advertised in the 1980s). But bigger ads that are more impressive cost thousands per month. Use that model on Facebook. Imagine a brand, like Luxor, just wants to say hi. That’s free. But how about post a link? That’ll be $4 please. And on and on.